I recently lost my iphone while back country skiing. The economics of the iphone/att discount program made the economics of switching to Verizon/Android pencil out. So I got a Motorola Droid, and Danielle got the HTC Droid Eris, and we cancelled our ATT plans for $30 more than it would have cost to replace the iPhone.

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First, the droid is everything the iPhone was, at least to me. The upside is that Android lets apps take over and access core services like sms and user interface and adds apps to things like share/upload options whenever they come up. Plus apps can run in the background. How novel. The downside is that there aren’t as many android apps as there are iPhone apps, but I don’t play the games, and most of the 6 pages of apps i had on my iPhone were either buggy or useless. There just aren’t that many iPhone apps (or Android apps) that I really need.

Below are the best Andorid apps I’ve used so far:

Twidroid:

A great twitter client. You can control background notifications, make it come on at startup, access multiple accounts, sync with a bit.ly account, and when tweeting you can select which account you want to send from when you send it rather than switching account views. It’s way better and faster than any of the iPhone Twitter apps i used. (twitteriffic, tweetdeck, tweetie).

The best thing is the background notifications. I have mine set to only update me when I get @replies. I have a custom ring applied so i can differentiate the notification from an SMS or email. The iPhone apps are a big step up from the SMS or web interface for Twitter, and the Android apps, with background notifications, are a huge step up from that.

Picsay Pro:

A great photo editing tool. Way better than the free Photoshop Mobile. You can adjust exposure, saturation, contrast, temperature, tint, brightness RGB, sharpness, smooth and bur as well as add a bunch of atrsy filters, crop, mask, add text, arrows and bubbles. One of the cool things about android is that when you click export from PicSay Pro (or any other app) you get all of the platform native options like sms, email, picasa, plus you get options for any installed apps to upload like Twidroid, or FlickrDroid.

FlickrDroid:

A great Flickr browsing and uploading app. This more than makes up for the fact that there is no Flickr app for android. The Flickr iPhone app was pretty useless anyway. FlickrDroid lets you upload photos. So far this is the best way to upload mobile photos to flickr I’ve found.

Sugarsync:

A free app that interfaces with your SugarSync online file backup service. I use SugarSync to back up my My Docs on my laptop and to sync a folder between my personal laptop and work laptop thus eliminating the need to ever carry around a thumb drive.  The Android App lets you download, view and share any of your files. This comes in handy when you get a call from a client who needs a file and you can’t connect with or don’t have your laptop. Just find the file, share it and get back to skiing. The app also backs up all your mobile photos to a web folder as well.

Stitcher:

Stitcher is a free podcast player that lets you search for and play almost any podcast over the air. At first I thought I wanted to have all my podcasts downloaded, particularly my favorites, The Moth and This American Life. But after a few weeks of using Stitcher, I find in unnecessary for two reasons: 1) most of the podcasts i listen to i never listen to again and i listen to them in town where i get good wireless connection and 2) TAL and The Moth are both available on CD, and I don’t mind paying for it to support the programs.

Stitcher is better for podcasts than others like Google Listen and NPR News because it lets you load up a playlist and plat it through. It’s also the least buggy of the podcast apps I’ve found for podcast playback.

Google My Tracks:

I like to map and log my runs and rides. On the iPhone 3g i was using the MotionX GPS app, which was great wen it worked. It was always loosing signal, crashing and was really slow to startup and run. Plus you had to start your music before starting the app cause it wouldn’t run in the background.

My Tracks runs well, and the Droid seems to have a good signal reception, though I haven’t used it in any remote or mountainous areas yet. The cool thing is that when it comes time to share your track, you give it name, a type (run, ride, swim etc) and a description and it adds it to the Google My Map of your choice and creates a Google Doc Spreadsheet for that activity type.

I really like the functionality of this app and will really like being able to mess with the data it creates and stores in the spreadsheet.

SMS Popup:

The base SMS functionality of the Droid isn’t as good as the iPhone, except that messages go through more reliably on Verizon than ATT. SMS Popup displays incoming messages on the screen before the unlock screen allowing you to go straight to the message rather than unlocking the screen and clicking on messages. It is simple and works really well.

That’s it. I have other apps, but for the most part I can live without them. The Android, from what I’ve experienced so far, is definitely as capable a mini computer as the iPhone. And the Google Android OS allows app developers the tools to make far more functional and useful apps.

If you know of other useful Android App, please post a comment with a link!

-M